According to researchers at the National Institute of Health in the United States, high blood levels of cadmium in females and high levels of lead in males can delay pregnancy in couples trying to become pregnant.
501 couples from 16 counties were studied from 2005 to 2009. All couples were over 18 and were closely followed through their attempts at pregnancy until conception, or at least one year of trying. Blood samples were taken to assess levels of lead and cadmium.
Sources of cadmium include cigarette smoke, batteries, pigments,metal coatings and plastics. Airborne particles of cadmium can travel over long distances and are also absorbed by fish, plants and animals.
Lead is found in ceramics, pipes and batteries, but a common source is still lead-based paint in older houses, lead glazed pottery and contaminated soil and water.
“The findings highlight the importance of assessing couples’ exposure jointly,” Dr Buck Louis said. “Males matter, because couples’ chances of becoming pregnant each cycle were reduced with increasing blood lead concentrations in men.”
Source: Bock, R., McGrath, J. NIH Study links high levels of cadmium, lead in blood to pregnancy delay; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, NIH News, Feb 8, 2012.